As part of the new emphasis on cloud-based services in Windows networking, Windows Server 2012 R2 contains a variety of tools that have been overhauled to facilitate remote server management capabilities.
The new Server Manager, for example, is designed to enable administrators to manage Windows servers without having to interact directly with the server console, either physically or remotely. However, there are some tasks that administrators might have to perform immediately after the operating system installation that require direct access to the server console:
– Configuring the network connection
– Setting the time zone
– Enabling Remote Desktop
– Renaming the computer
– Joining a domain
Using GUI tools
In Windows Server 2012 R2, the Properties tile in Server Manager, as shown in Figure 1-4, provides the same functionality as the Initial Configuration Tasks window in previous Windows Server versions. To complete any or all of the postinstallation configuration tasks on a GUI Windows Server 2012 R2 installation, you can use the tools in the Properties tile, either by working directly at the server console or by using Remote Desktop to access the server from another computer.
FIGURE 1-4 The Properties tile of the local server in Server Manager
The Ethernet entry in the Properties tile specifies the current status of the computer’s network interface. If there is an active Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server on the network, the server will have already retrieved an IP address and other settings and used them to configure the interface. If there is no DHCP server on the network, or if you must configure the computer with a static IP address, click the Ethernet hyperlink to display the Network Connections window from the Control Panel. You can use this to open the Ethernet Properties sheet and the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) Properties sheet, where you can configure the TCP/IP client.
Accurate computer clock time is essential for Active Directory Domain Services communication. If the server is located in a time zone other than the default Pacific zone, click the Time Zone hyperlink to open the Date and Time dialog box, where you can correct the setting.
By default, Windows Server 2012 R2 does not allow Remote Desktop connections. To enable them, click the Remote Desktop hyperlink to open the Remote tab of the System Properties sheet.In a manual operating system installation, the Windows Setup program assigns a unique name beginning with WIN to the computer. To change the name of the computer and join it to a domain, click the Computer Name hyperlink to open the System Properties sheet and click Change to open the Computer Name/Domain Changes dialog box.
Using command-line tools
If you selected the Server Core option when installing Windows Server 2012 R2, you can perform the same postinstallation tasks from the command line. At the very minimum, you will have to rename the computer and join it to a domain. To do this, you can use the Sconfig.
exe or Netdom.exe program.
To rename a computer, run Netdom.exe with the following syntax, as shown in Figure 1-5:
netdom renamecomputer %ComputerName% /NewName: <NewComputerName>
FIGURE 1-5 Renaming a computer from the command line
To restart the computer as directed, use the following command:
Then, to join the computer to a domain, use the following syntax:
netdom join %ComputerName% /domain: <DomainName> /userd: <UserName> /passwordd:*
In this command, the asterisk (*) in the /passwordd parameter causes the program to prompt you for the password to the user account you specified.
These commands assume that a DHCP server has already configured the computer’s TCP/IP client. If this is not the case, you must manually configure it before you can join a domain.
To assign a static IP address to a computer using Server Core, you can use the Netsh.exe program or the New-NetIPAddress cmdlet in Windows PowerShell.
Converting between GUI and Server Core
In Windows Server 2012 R2, you can convert a computer installed with the full GUI option to Server Core and add the full GUI to a Server Core computer. This is a major improvement in the usefulness of Server Core over the version in Windows Server 2008 R2, in which you can only change the interface by reinstalling the entire operating system.
With this capability, administrators can install servers with the full GUI, use the graphical tools to perform the initial setup, and then convert them to Server Core to conserve system resources. If it later becomes necessary, it is possible to reinstall the GUI components.
To convert a full GUI installation of Windows Server 2012 R2 to Server Core by using Server Manager, you must run the Remove Roles And Features Wizard and uninstall the following features, as shown in Figure 1-6:
– Graphical Management Tools And Infrastructure
– Server Graphical Shell
FIGURE 1-6 Uninstalling features using the Remove Features page in Server Manager
To add the full GUI to a Server Core computer, you must use Windows PowerShell to install the same features you removed in the previous procedure. To convert a Windows Server 2012 R2 Server Core installation to the full GUI option, use the following Windows PowerShell command:
Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra,Server-Gui-Shell –Restart
To convert a full GUI server installation to Server Core, use the following command:
Uninstall-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra,Server-Gui-Shell -Restart
Configuring NIC teaming
NIC teaming is a feature in Windows Server 2012 R2 that enables administrators to combine the bandwidth of multiple network interface adapters, providing increased performance and fault tolerance. Virtualization enables administrators to separate vital network functions on different systems without having to purchase a separate physical computer for each one.
However, one of the drawbacks of this practice is that a single server hosting multiple VMs is still a single point of failure for all of them. A single malfunctioning network adapter, a faulty switch, or even an unplugged cable can bring down a host server and all its VMs.
NIC teaming, also called bonding, balancing, and aggregation, is a technology that has been available for some time, but it was always tied to specific hardware implementations.
The NIC teaming capability in Windows Server 2012 R2 is hardware independent and enables you to combine multiple physical network adapters into a single interface. The results can include increased performance by combining the throughput of the adapters and protection from adapter failures by dynamically moving all traffic to the functioning NICs.
NIC teaming in Windows Server 2012 R2 supports two modes:
– Switch Independent Mode All the network adapters are connected to different switches, providing alternative routes through the network.
– Switch Dependent Mode All the network adapters are connected to the same switch, providing a single interface with their combined bandwidth.
In Switch Independent Mode, you can choose between two configurations. The active/active configuration leaves all the network adapters functional, providing increased throughput. If one adapter fails, all the traffic is shunted to the remaining adapters. In the active/standby configuration, one adapter is left offline to function as a failover in the event the active adapter fails. In active/active mode, an adapter failure causes a performance reduction;in active/standby mode, the performance remains the same before and after an adapter failure.
In Switch Dependent Mode, you can choose static teaming, a generic mode that balances the traffic between the adapters in the team, or you can opt to use the Link Aggregation Control Protocol defined in IEEE 802.3ax, assuming that your equipment supports it.
In Windows Server 2012, there is one significant limitation to NIC teaming. If your traffic consists of large TCP sequences, such as a Hyper-V live migration, the system will avoid using multiple adapters for those sequences to minimize the number of lost and out-of-order TCP segments. You will therefore not realize any performance increase for large file transfers using TCP. In Windows Server 2012 R2, a new Dynamic Mode splits these large TCP sequences into smaller units and distributes them among the NICs on a team. This is now the default loadbalancing mode in Windows Server 2012 R2.
You can create and manage NIC teams by using Server Manager or Windows PowerShell. To create a NIC team by using Server Manager, follow these steps.
1. In Server Manager, in the Properties tile, click NIC Teaming. The NIC Teaming window opens, as shown in Figure 1-7.
FIGURE 1-7 The NIC Teaming window in Server Manager
2. In the Teams tile, click Tasks and select New Team to open the New Team page.
3. Click the Additional Properties arrow to expand the window, as shown in Figure 1-8.
FIGURE 1-8 The New Team page in Server Manager
4. In the Team Name text box, type the name you want to assign to the team.
5. In the Member Adapters box, select the network adapters you want to add to the team.
6. In the Teaming Mode drop-down list, select one of the following options:
– Static Teaming
– Switch Independent
7. In the Load Balancing Mode drop-down list, select one of the following options:
– Address Hash
– Hyper-V Port
8. If you selected Switch Independent for the Teaming Mode value, use the Standby Adapter drop-down list to select one of the adapters to function as the offline standby.
9. Click OK. The new team is listed in the Teams tile, as shown in Figure 1-9.
FIGURE 1-9 The new NIC team in the NIC Teaming window in Server Manager
Once you have created a NIC team, the NIC Teaming window enables you to monitor the status of the team and the team interface you have created. The team itself and the individual adapters all have status indicators that inform you if an adapter goes offline.
If this occurs, the indicator for the faulty adapter immediately switches to disconnected, as shown in Figure 1-10, and depending on which teaming mode you chose, the status of the other adapter might also change.
FIGURE 1-10 A NIC team showing a failed adapter
This article is a part of 70-410 Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012 Prep course, more articles in this course are :